There are indications that negotiations between the Federal Government and terrorists, who attacked the Kaduna-Abuja train on March 28, have stalled following the refusal of the government to accede to their demands.
The terrorists are keeping about 100 passengers, who were abducted from the train, which derailed at Katari, Kaduna, after it was bombed.
Eight persons were killed and 26 others injured when gunmen attacked the train and kidnapped the victims.
The Nigerian Railway Corporation said it was unable to establish contact with 163 of the passengers and seven crew members, who boarded the train.
It was gathered that the demand by the attackers for the release of 16 of their commanders and sponsors in custody in exchange for the abducted victims was not acceptable to the government.
Security sources said the authorities were still negotiating with the terrorists, while exploring other options to rescue the abductees, who were seen in a viral video sitting under a tree at an unknown location, believed to be the bandits’ camp.
Our correspondent gathered on Friday that the government was also not ready to pay ransom on the abductees.
A source said, “The Federal Government is looking into their demands because of the hostages, but the government is being cautious; it cannot meet the demands of the terrorists. The last time the government released some commanders, they went back and the insurgency became worse.
“So, nobody is considering releasing the commanders. The terrorists were also given money previously and the situation did not improve.”
Following the lack of progress in the negotiations, it was learnt that the terrorists might start asking the families of the hostages for ransom.
Some of the family members had protested the abduction of their loved ones and also complained that the terrorists had not contacted them since the victims were held captive over two weeks ago.
Meanwhile, the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, has ordered intensive security patrols of all public spaces and critical national assets ahead of Easter.
He directed all state Commissioners of Police and their supervising Assistant Inspectors-General of Police to ensure adequate deployment of personnel and operational assets in areas of security interest in their respective areas of responsibility.
The acting force spokesman, Muyiwa Adejobi, disclosed in a statement that the IG also instructed the supervising officers to ensure that “confidence-boosting, proactive and high visibility patrols” were carried out on the highways, motor parks, train stations, airports, worship centres, recreation centres, banks and other financial institutions, while taking adequate measures to provide a peaceful, crime-free, and enabling environment for religious, cultural and other socio-economic activities to thrive.
“In addition, the commissioners of police and their supervising AIGs have been directed to ensure proper supervision of the men assigned for these assignments. They must be professional and courteous to law-abiding citizens, but firm and ruthless with criminal elements, who might want to take advantage of the festive period to perpetrate their unholy acts,” the statement added. – Punch.